FOLLOWING Bradley Wiggins’ time trial gold medal, attention turns to the track cycling tomorrow (Thursday), with the first events in the Olympic Park Velodrome. Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Victoria Pendleton are Team GB’s big medal hopes, but Welwyn Wheelers cyclist Laura Trott could prove to be the sport’s new golden girl at the London 2012 Games.
LAURA Trott’s grand plan didn’t include London 2012, but after an accelerated progression through the ranks she is now Britain’s best chance of double cycling gold in the capital.
The 20-year-old, who began cycling as an eight-year-old at Welwyn Garden City’s Gosling Sports Park track, has only been part of Team GB since 2010, but already has three world titles, and the same number of European crowns, to her name.
Alongside Joanna Rowsell and Dani King, Trott is expected to pick up team pursuit gold, having produced a world record performance in Melbourne in April.
That was enough to beat the hosts and their biggest rivals in London, Australia, while the Welwyn Wheelers honorary member also saw off Australian contemporary Annette Edmondson on the way to the Omnium world title.
But Trott insists that, despite the fact that she could become only the second woman in history to win two track golds at a single Games, Rio de Janerio 2016 is where she will peak.
She said: “I never even expected that I would go to London 2012, so there is a feeling of I can’t quite believe it.
“I only turned 20 last month, so it’s a bit of a shock for me, because I always thought I’d be a Rio 2016 athlete – I’m so shocked, but in a good way.
“I don’t think I’ll be fazed, to be honest. It’s just another race for me. I cycle my bike everyday – it’s not different to me. But it’s also an extra one for me, so what’s the point of me going in and ruining the experience for myself.
“I wouldn’t say there’s an expectation of gold. All I can do is my best and whatever that is, is whatever that is.”
Laura added: “It’s pretty amazing of me to make this team. At 20, I really didn’t expect to make this team and be going to the Olympics.
“I know Jason Kenny did it, but it’s a bit different as there are more women than there ever was on the sprint programme. It’s just a great journey.”
Britain’s current cycling darling is fellow Hertfordshire rider Victoria Pendleton, who along with Lloyds TSB ambassador Sir Chris Hoy carried the Olympic Flame as part of the London 2012 countdown.
Pendleton will end her own career in London, with Trott set to take on her mantle in her first Games.
And the Welwyn Wheelers rider reveals that sprint queen Pendleton has played a vital role in her seamless adjustment to the international stage.
She added: “When I first got onto the programme sitting across from Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton it was a pinch yourself moment to start with.
“I never expected to be on the same team as them. Being the age I am, it feels like it was too big an age gap to be on the team. But after sitting down and talking with them, it just feels like it’s one big team.
“They definitely give advice. I had a little up-and-down moment and Vicky was there to support me, because I know her really well.
“She always says ring me if I’m ever worried and need someone to speak to, so they’re definitely there for the experience.
“I wouldn’t say there was added pressure on us with it being a home Games. I don’t think we feel the pressure – as I said, it’s just another bike race.
“I’m not a nervous person at all – how can I be nervous at the Olympics? But after races I always throw up because I’ve got a high acid level in my stomach. It just makes me sick after I’ve worked hard.”
* As the only National Presenting Partner of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay, Lloyds TSB is bringing the excitement of the Games and Olympic Flame closer to you.
Find out what we’re doing in your community and who is carrying the Flame at lloydstsb.com/carrytheflame